[Primer] American Midrange

  • #1

    What is a Midrange deck?
    Midrange is excatly what it states, it is the middle of the range of 2 ends, while in this format the 2 ends being agro and control with little room for combo. The current midrange decks can handle a variety of threats from every type of deck while still being able to beat your oppenents face in when needed.

    Why should I play American Midrange when I could beat my openents face in with my Thragtusk, or control what you play with my maricle control?
    With the standard having it's recent rotation many people are still trying out new ideas. With this new rush of ideas constantly going on for the next few months, having an extreme to deal with a voliatile meta is not the best idea.

    Background of this deck:
    I had oringinally started as an American Delver, however my face kept getting beat in when he would not flip and I had no way of letting him flip without running Index. However when he did work he was great, plus I got the added bonus of having a instant or sorcery in my hand. Leading me to my next point, I had to find someway to get the consistant instant or sorcery in my hand while still maintain board state with a creature that can kill a 1 toughness if needed. Augur of Bolas was my answer, a great (amazing) 2 drop that allowed for a shock land tapped turn 1 then a dual land or regular land turn 2 for augur to come out to dig 3 cards for my choice of what instant or sorcery one needs.

    So what should I run?
    • Giest of Saint Traft - Bread and butter of this deck, if this resolves turn 3 against an opponent it is an immidiate threat that significant resources have to be alloted to deal with
    • Restoration Angel - a 3/4 flyer for 4, AND blinks creatures to save them during combat AND flash
    • Snapcaster Mage - Gives any of your spells flashback in your graveyard
    • Augur of Bolas - Diggs 3 to get a spell and can help tackle the annoying early rakados
    • Invisible Stalker - Hexproof and unblockable can make for a formidal ally if pair without a damage booster
    • Lyvec Skyknight - 3/1 flyer for 3 that detains 2 and can be blinked by restoration angel
    • Hypersonic Dragon - 4/4 flying and haste the sorcerys receive flash ability is relevant but will usually be dead weight in an opening hand that is struggling for card advantage early in the game
    • Izzet Staticaster - flash, haster that can ping creatures for 1 and block as a 0/3

    Card advantage:
    • Azorius Charm - Slow your opponent down by placing an attacker on top of their library / cycle your card if pointless / and lifelink is relevant against some monoblack control decks
    • Izzet Charm - Counter noncreature spell unless they pay 2 / 2 damage to a creature / and digs 2 to cycle cards
    • Thought Scour - Target player mills 2 then draws a card (great for runechanter pike)
    • Think Twice - draw a card then flashback to draw a card

    • Mizzium Mortars - sorcery speed 4 damage to a creature, only immediate answer to loxodon smiter save a oblvion ring / the overload can take out an entire board
    • Pillar of Flames - sorcery 2 damage to a creature that exiles them if destroyed, a must in the current meta filled with zombies and silverblade paladins
    • Flames of the Firebrand - 3 damage to up to 3 differnt targets but sorcery speed
    • Searing Spear - 3 damage instant speed for keyrunes as jSeWell pointed out
    • Devil's Play - RX deal damage to target creature or player with flashback as RRRX is a win condition in itself, can also act as spot removal

    • Syncopate - this is great against agro decks as they almost always tap out to cast spells, however it is a toss up against control decks
    • Dissipate - 3cmc that exiles the countered spell is great
    • Negate - 2cmc that counters non creature spells is a must against control decks or pesky token decks
    • Essence Scatter - 2cmd that counters creature spell is great as cavern of souls is rarely seeing play

    Board Disruption:
    • Unsummon - return any creature to their owner's hand for 1cmc, Still heavly debating this card as it can bounce my cards too
    • Cyclonic Rift - 1U that returns a target permanent to its owner's hand, overload ability will be game over if used properly
    • Terminus - Put all creatures on the botton of their owner's library, maricle for W is relevant against token decks and aggro
    • Supreme Verdict - 4 drop that can not be countered and destroys all creatures

    Combat help:
    • Rootborn Defense - populate and creatures are indestructible is great for saving your giest, and if used before damage in the combat phase then you get a 4/4 angel token AND the only counter to the uncounterable supreme verdict
    • Runechanter Pike - +x/0 first strike for each sorcery and instant in the graveyard

    • Hallowed Fountains - provides U or W shock land
    • Steam Vents - provides U or R shock land
    • Glacial Fortress - provides U or W tapland
    • Sulfur Falls - provides U or R tapland
    • Basic Lands - No downside other not having the color you need
    • Desolate Lighthouse - tap for colorless or 1UR tap to draw a card, discard a card amazing in the end of the game when you need just that one card to win
    • Morland Haunt - Hopefully will not have creature cards in the graveyard, but even if you do you can make all of 2 or 3 tokens in a game
    • Ghost Quarters - In the current meta with very low cavern of souls being used this will most likely do nothing for you, but keep in mind in case cavern of souls makes it big again in standard

    Current Deck:
    logixmorg's DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    4 Snapcaster Mage
    4 Giest of Saint Traft
    4 Restoration Angels
    2 Thundermaw Hellkite

    Card Advantage
    4 Azorius Charm
    3 Think Twice

    4 Pillar of Flames
    3 Searing Spear

    1 Dissipate
    3 Syncopate
    2 Essence Scatter

    3 Unsummon
    2 Detention Sphere

    2 Desolate Lighthouse
    19 Other stuff

    stratgy depends on the match up,
    against zombies just disrupting the board from the start not letting them cast anything while you turn 3 giest them in the face
    against UW aggro, do not let them resolve a giest before you if they do cast your to get rid of theirs you can usually keep card advantage on them
    against GW aggro, have played 1 match in my current meta against a GW agro, I went 0-2 however I am still learning how to deal with this token, what to let resolve what not, and what to sideboard against these decks
    against UWx control, This is the closes to a mirror I have seen, strategy is to try to resolve a creature and set the opponent on a clock, do not let them resolve a tamiyo, terminus, Tragtusk. Overload mizzium mortars can take care of a resolved entreat the angels while devil's play is a great spell to use late game

    Record so far:
    *just to note my meta is fairly competetive with a little over half of the regulars (9ish) attending the States and 3 of them placing top 8
    Have a notebook filled with notes on various matches within 5 standard tournament
    First tournament with the deck went 4-1 with losing to a guy I beat previously in the single elimiantion playoffs (only person to make it to playoffs undefeated)
    Second tournament with a modified version went 2-2 not making top 4
    Third Tournament took out unsummon and izzet charm for more counters went 4-1 while splitting top 4 I was currently 3rd in points
    Fourth Tournament went 3-1-1 this was my first time facing a GW agro, and ending up ID into top even though I was currently 4th after the loss, went to play a UWG control that just had the better plays both rounds, while I did some pretty shotty plays

    Comments, Concerns, Questions?
    I loath my sideboard, no one in my meta wants to waste a oblivion ring on an augur of bolas so I will be dropping erase, and I just picked up the detention sphere to start play testing with it main board

    EDIT: Updating the deck I currently use.
    Last edited by logixmorg: 10/29/2012 10:16:46 PM
  • #2
    Searing Spear and Dungeon Giests are important additions to the deck; even if only in the side. Thundermaw Hellkite is also a must, IMO. He wins games out of nowhere.

    Slayer's Stronghold has been a powerful addition for me. I only run 1, but I usually rather it over Moorland Haunt. It works great with Moorland too. The more creatures you run, the better they both are.

    Can anybody link me to the old American midrange thread in the Competitive section, I'd appreciate it. I can't seem to find it.
  • #3
    I think you are amiss if you do not mention Anderson et al's apperence with the deck in last week's DeckTech as he pseudo put it on the map as a true contender.

    Sample Deck Project

    WWK Gameday - 3rd (Jund)
    --Mr. Nice Guy Games--

    M12 Gameday - 1st (Furnace Scamp Red)

    ZEN Pre - 3rd (of 31)
    M11 Gameday - 1st (Naya Shaman)
    SoM Pre - 3rd (of 50)
    SoM Gameday - 1st (U/B Creatureless)
    NPH Pre Day 1 - 1st (of 56)
    INN Gameday - 3rd (WRR Green)
    RtR Pre Day 1:
    Pod 1: 1st (of 63) 5-0-1
    Pod 2: 1st (of 33) 5-0, 10-0 in games
    GC Gameday - 2nd UWR (Ross build)
    DGM Pre - 3rd (of 36) 5-1
  • #4
    Quote from TehGrease
    Searing Spear and Dungeon Giests are important additions to the deck; even if only in the side. Thundermaw Hellkite is also a must, IMO. He wins games out of nowhere.

    Slayer's Stronghold has been a powerful addition for me. I only run 1, but I usually rather it over Moorland Haunt. It works great with Moorland too. The more creatures you run, the better they both are.

    Can anybody link me to the old American midrange thread in the Competitive section, I'd appreciate it. I can't seem to find it.

    I had not even thought of the Slayers' Stronghold, I will definitly put it in as a 1 of until I can justify playing more of it, seems like one of the great additions when you have a stalled board where you need to keep blockers but now have vigilance

    Also what are you experiences with Thundermaw Hellkite? Should I go as a 2 of or 1 of? Maybe instead of a Restoration Angel

    As far as Dungeon Giests I am putting them in my side board for wednesdays standard at my local store, they just seem to do the job of a lyvec Skyknight but better

    Quote from knuckles29
    I think you are amiss if you do not mention Anderson et al's apperence with the deck in last week's DeckTech as he pseudo put it on the map as a true contender.

    Sorry but I am not really sure who this is, if you could link to the article that would be great!
  • #5

    2 top 8 decklists:

    Those 2 evolved from a list that won a tournament in Chiba, Japan but I can't find the link for that right now.
  • #6
    Quote from resum

    2 top 8 decklists:

    Those 2 evolved from a list that won a tournament in Chiba, Japan but I can't find the link for that right now.

    Thanks! I just checked out the first link and that seems to be more in line with what I wanted to accomplish with the deck and sideboard

    I will throw in 2 Thundermaw Hellkite instead of augur and take the other 2 augurs out for Detention Sphere main deck.

    I am leaning toward Devil's Play instead of searing spear though the X is more than relevant late game when you have an absurd amount of mana open, and the flashback without the snapcaster is also great.
  • #7
    I personally don't like Augur in this list, especially without pikes. And also, Flames of the Firebrand is a sorcery. Don't forget that Thundermaw has a relevant ability to be abused with Resto Angel

    The instant speed on Searing Spear is important with the keyrunes seeing play

    Made by me out of boredom.
  • #8
    The Anderson and Lamm decks are really well designed.

    What entertains me is that this is the most permission-oriented deck in the meta. No, it does not control the board, but 6 counter spells and 4 Snapcaster Mage?

    It is only midrange because it eschews removal in favor of burn and bounce (burn that can go to the face, which is why Spear > Mizzium Mortars) and uses Restoration Angel and Geist of Saint Traft. I might argue that is actually a proper Hybrid Control deck.
    Current Decks:

    Esper Control
    UWR Control
    Death and Taxes

    "I'm a lead farmer... !" Quote ruined due to policy.
  • #9
    So can anyone explain how to sideboard with the top8s?
  • #10
    Quote from resum

    2 top 8 decklists:

    Those 2 evolved from a list that won a tournament in Chiba, Japan but I can't find the link for that right now.

    Here is the original decklist:
    +++ My Trade List +++
  • #11
    Quote from jetflash
    So can anyone explain how to sideboard with the top8s?

    I would imagine against the top decks, with Todd's list, it would generally be:

    WUR Control
    -4 Pillar of Flame
    -2 Essence scatter

    +2 Dissipate
    +2 Negate
    +1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
    +1 Supreme Verdict/Sundering Growth/Dungeon Geist

    Bant Control (I haven't played this MU at all, so I'm just speculating on what to cut)
    -4 Pillar of Flame
    -4 Azorius Charm

    +3 Dungeon Geists
    +1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
    +2 Dissipate
    +2 Negate

    -1 Dissipate
    -2 Syncopate

    +3 Supreme Verdict

    -4 Pillar of Flame
    -4 Azorius Charm
    -2 Detention Sphere

    +2 Sundering Growth (if you see keyrunes, which you should)
    +3 Dungeon Geists
    +1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
    +2 Dissipate
    +2 Negate

    GW Aggro
    -1 Dissipate
    -2 Syncopate

    +3 Supreme Verdict

    Possibly -2 Thundermaw Hellkite/+2 Dungeon Geists
  • #12
    I've been playtesting both decks that top 10'd at SCG Indianapolis. Here are some basic things I have discovered against each decklist. I have made one change I believe which was Slayer's Stronghold > Moorland Haunt. That turned out being a mistake.

    In theory I love Syncopate. It basically is Dissipate but cheaper and less mana intensive. But the more I played it the less I like it. As I played game after game I realized whatever they play turn 2/3 when Syncopate would be at its best I would rather just use some of the other removal found in this deck and have a useful counter that is applicable late game for whatever they try to play.

    Slayer's Stronghold is okay. Not great. I found that in alot of situations I would rather have Moorland Haunt. This deck can afford to hold mana open to counter and do something else lategame but you cant play a creature/activate Slayer's Stronghold/hold up countermagic.

    Thundermaw Hellkite is the real deal. In many matchups he is the trump card necessary to get in major amounts of damage. Lingering Souls decks just get wrecked.

    All in all this is a very competitive list which won a majority of my matchups. I beat 2 different Epic Experiment Combo, a BG Zombies, Jund and WU Control. The only matchup I lost to was a pretty good Frites player. It all came down to him playing two Thragtusk and abusing Vault of the Archangel to negate my play. Unsummon and Azorius Charm are no good against that card btw. I always want to counter it but you can't always hold up counter magic. Seems like you have to drop a Geist of Saint Traft early to win that matchup(never happened). All in all love the deck and am considering what changed can be made to adjust to this always developing meta. I didn't side Thalia, Guardian of Thraben so that may be what I playtest next.
  • #13
    Every deck has a bad matchup, Frites/Reanimator is this one's.

    You are going to rely on Dungeon Geists to deal with Thragtusk (yes, they gain 5 life, but if it can never attack again, who cares?) Purify the Grave is obvious, and Tamiyo to slow them down further.

    I am also testing one Lyev, the Skyknight in place of one Geist of Saint Traft. I only have 3, so I used Lyev instead and I have been quite pleased with it. Locking down a permanent (creature or Planeswalker generally, but also Keyrunes' creature animation, or Underworld Connections) With Unsummon and Restoration Angel, you can lock down opponents multiple times, and that can be crucial against certain cards.

    I am also using 1 Desolate Lighthouse and 1 Moorland Haunt. I'm happy to see either one an both gives me flexibility, while 2 of each on the field would be too much. Loothouse give you range in the late game and Moorland gives a constant threat stream.

    Unsummon is a very strategic card in this deck. Using it on your own creature is common and correct in many cases. Turn 3, no blockers versus zombies? Flash Snapcaster, Unsummon him. No damage, Snapcaster in hand, Unsummon as a valid target in the graveyard. Even if you are SOL, that will keep you alive until you find relevant cards.
    Current Decks:

    Esper Control
    UWR Control
    Death and Taxes

    "I'm a lead farmer... !" Quote ruined due to policy.
  • #14
    I definitly agree with your opinion on Unsummon. I love using it on Geist of Saint Traft to avoid a wrath effect. Don't know how I feel about Lyev, the Skynight or Desolate Lighthouse. I always feel like the lighthouse is meant to play Miracles on your opponents turn in a cheap way, but that could just be an underlying stigma. I am currently planning on attempting to see hoe some of these cards do in the deck.

  • #15
    RE: Loothouse
    As I see it, it lets us dig, dump stuff we aren't using, and not waste EoT when we haven't had a play or we were just holding open mana to counter a threat. It is situational and I would not want two, but it works nicely with Mooreland Haunt because often I want to do one or the other, but not both.

    Lyev is something in testing because I lack a 4th GoST that I have been incredibly happy with because it works nicely in our approach, which is almost tempo. That said, if I get a 4th GoST, I'll probably play it anyway.

    I am tempted by Thalia in the side against UW(x) control. It really makes them miserable and does serious damage. I have to get a set again, though, because I sold mine.
    Current Decks:

    Esper Control
    UWR Control
    Death and Taxes

    "I'm a lead farmer... !" Quote ruined due to policy.
  • #16
    I ended up trying out a modified version of Todd Anderson's American Midranged at a standard on Wednesday 10/25

    Went 3-1 split top 4
    1st match Bant Control
    g1 - Won with opponent mulling down to 4, 1 land hand and me syncopating his think twice when he got the 2nd mana, I turned 3 giest and turned sideways 3 times
    sb - Not really sure what to side board here so I took out my essence scatter for negate + 3 dungeon giest instead of my pillar of flame assuming he ran Thragtusk
    g2- Won after he resolved 2 Thragtusk, luckily I resolved both my dungeon giest going down to 5 life, then proceeded to beat face in from his 30

    2nd match enchantment agro
    g1 - Lost game 1 horribly I was not expecting this deck at all, turn 1 index (he set up for Miracle temporal mastery) turn 2 invisible stalker I let resolve, turn 3 he plays 1 rancor and ethereal armor on invisible stalker swings for 5. turn 4 he miracles Temporal Mastery proceeds to add another rancor, I scope
    sb - put in my supreme verdict, negate for enchantments, dungeon giest and take out my hellkite due to his extremely fast nature take out pillar of flame and searing spear because of the hexproof invisible stalker and assuming giest of saint traft
    g2 - he does not get as many enchantments this time, he amassed a large field I proceeded to supreme verdict then I resolved giest and swung for lethal in the next two turns
    g3 - same thing as before but I syncopated a rancor for 2 Grin
    *Note if this deck starts becoming really popular then maybe add erase back in to SB as a 2 of?

    3rd match rakados agro
    g1 - I control his board by countering everything and beat face in with giest / snap combo
    g2 - same thing he slaughter games my giest of saint traft before I can play it so I turn 5 a thundermaw Hellkite and swing for game

    4th match Reanimator
    g1 - Lost to 4 flying spirit tokens pumped up to some ridiculous amount with gavony township
    sb - not really what to do here so I put my other 2 Dissipate
    g2 - Won this after letting him flashback lingering souls, I then detention sphere and win with Thundermaw after he plays another lingering souls
    g3 - severely mana screwed and he got a great hand no hope for me

    Will post the deck I used later,

    I loved the Thundermaws so much compared to Augur I definitly felt like when I topped deck this late in the game it would just so much better for me
    Also Devil's play did not see any play this time, even though when I had in MB before it was a game winner, still not convinced to give this up versus control though.
  • #17
    In my meta, there are a lot of counters right now. I'm seriously considering dropping the Moorland Haunt and a basic for two Cavern of Souls. Also, since I haven't seen many relevant targets, I want to put two of the Pillar of Flame into the sideboard and either bring the Negates, a Negate and a Dissipate, or two of the Dungeon Geists into the main.

    What do you guys think? I know we don't have any creatures that share a type, but getting that Geist of Saint Traft, Snapcaster Mage, or Thundermaw Hellkite in play against a control opponent with mana up is crucial.
  • #18
    Two more UWR Midrange in the top 8 at SCGNOL:



    The first one above is in top 4 now, the other was knocked out.

    Edit: I have been testing this deck and I constantly get screwed by the manabase, mostly drawing too many CiPT lands. Anyone else having that problem?
    Last edited by ctaylor33: 10/28/2012 10:27:49 AM
  • #19
    It was a good day at locals. Only 3 rounds and top 4, so I only played 4 games, but I went 3-1 and split top 2.

    Round 1 vs. BG Zombies 0-2
    So much closer than it sounds. I was ahead both games until I stalled on lands. I sideboarded incorrectly game 2, I did not put in my Supreme Verdicts. No, I don't know why. We need our sweepers against Zombies because they flood the field.

    Round 2 vs. Esper Control 2-0
    I just crushed him so fast. I can't even describe how good Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is against control decks after the side.

    Round 3 vs. UW Aggro 2-1
    The goal here was to stabilize and keep him from getting a footing. Judicious use of burns, allowing him to overextend a little, and this time siding in Supreme Verdict. Pretty easy overall. In the second game I just ran out of gas being a little over-aggressive.

    Top 4 vs. American Control 2-1
    This was the toughest match. He is by far one of the best control players I have played and he and one other guy have taught me everything I know about control. So it was great to win Grin First game, I lost because I mis-played Snapcaster. Thought I had another Searing Spear in the grave to burn him out, but I didn't, I had Izzet Charm and Pillar of Flame, while I cast Snapcaster on his turn... Doh.

    Games 2 and 3 went pretty much alike: burn, resolve Thalia ASAP, creature beats, counter-magic, Unsummon every attempt to kill my creatures. Unsummon was a beast. So much value, so perfect on defense. I recycled Snapcaster Mage at least 3 times. I won on the last game because I had resolved Thalia, GoST, and Restoration Angel and had enough mana open to cast Rootborn Defenses against his Supreme Verdict (I also had a Negate in hand in case it was Terminus.)

    The other player and I split the prize because we wanted to go do other stuff.

    This was my first night playing the deck instead of shadow boxing, so I am still learning its tricks, but it is complex and requires making the right moves at the right moment.

    In terms of control, it was gorgeous. I love this deck.

    Some card notes:
    Izzet Charm is phenomenal in this deck. It killed creatures, acted as an additional piece of counter magic, and got me draw when I had nothing else. I sided out Azorius Charm against control, but not this card. Ever.

    Thalia, Guardian of Thraben was the best sideboard against control, but I only ever needed 3. 4 is too many.

    Thundermaw Hellkite is beautiful. Not usually the card I won with, but one-hit, one-kill on PWs was fantastic. Flying, Haste, tap their flyers is just so good.

    Lyev Skynight is a 1-of because I am short a Geist, but making a PW useless for a turn or making some threat sit there is pretty good for now. I will replace it, it's not that great, but I'm not crying either.

    Desolate Lighthouse and Moorland Haunt as 1-ofs were fantastic. Worked as well as I thought it would.

    Searing Spear and Pillar of Flame as 4/3 rather than 3/4 worked really well for me. I may change my mind on that, but Zombies are less prevalent, and that makes Spear better.

    I have not decided on the right amount of Rootborn Defenses, Sundering Growth, and Supreme Verdict.

    I really like Rootborn against control because of Verdict. It just ruins them but as a 1-of, it feels insufficiently reliable. Supreme absolutely necessary against aggro decks, so 2, but maybe 3. Sundering is great fun because it destroys artifacts and enchantments, but done at the right moment, it makes that Angel token a permanent clone. Now how nice is that? 2 or 1?

    I never felt a need for Planeswalkers, not Tamiyo, not Jace.

    redtwister's DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Creatures 14
    4 Restoration Angel
    4 Snapcaster Mage
    3 Geist of Saint Traft
    2 Thundermaw Hellkite
    1 Lyev Skynight

    Enchantments 3
    3 Detention Sphere

    Instants 16
    2 Azorius Charm
    2 Izzet Charm
    2 Dissipate
    2 Essence Scatter
    4 Searing Spear
    2 Syncopate
    2 Unsummon

    Sorceries 3
    3 Pillar of Flame

    Lands 24
    1 Island
    1 Mountain
    4 Clifftop Retreat
    4 Glacial Fortress
    4 Hallowed Fountain
    1 Moorland Haunt
    1 Desolate Lighthouse
    4 Steam Vents
    4 Sulfur Falls

    Last edited by redtwister: 10/28/2012 8:19:03 PM
    Current Decks:

    Esper Control
    UWR Control
    Death and Taxes

    "I'm a lead farmer... !" Quote ruined due to policy.
  • #20
    This is the deck I played at Game Day:

    tdewald's DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    2 Cavern of Souls
    4 Clifftop Retreat
    3 Glacial Fortress
    4 Hallowed Fountain
    1 Island
    1 Mountain
    1 Plains
    4 Steam Vents
    4 Sulfur Falls

    4 Snapcaster Mage
    4 Geist of Saint Traft
    4 Restoration Angel
    2 Thundermaw Hellkite

    4 Syncopate
    1 Essence Scatter
    1 Negate
    1 Dissipate

    4 Searing Spear
    2 Pillar of Flame

    Other Spells
    3 Unsummon
    4 Azorius Charm
    2 Detention Sphere

    Because it was the Sunday Game Day, we only had fourteen players. That being said, my shop has some very talented players who regularly attend tournaments, and a few who could no doubt go pro if they really wanted to. I ended up playing against three of our most skilled players, and my other opponent was an unknown to me.

    I went 2-1-1 and placed 3rd, then went 2-1 in top eight. Both of my losses were to the same player running a Grixis control list that was very heavy on sweepers along with Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker. I lost our first match in two, and made him go to three in the top eight. My draw was against GW Aggro/Midrange, where I lost a game to mana screw (two lands forever), though he did have me on game three (I top decked a Supreme Verdict to prevent lethal when we went to turns).

    My meta has a ton control right now, with a lot of people running multiple counters, so I opted to run two Cavern of Souls over Moorland Haunt or Desolate Lighthouse. It worked out great, and I was never unhappy to see them. On several occasions it allowed me to play through counters.

    I replaced an Essence Scatter with another Unsummon and a Pillar of Flame with another Searing Spear because I found out I didn't have enough. :p I'm not sure about three Unsummons, but a 4/3 split in favor of Searing Spear was excellent for me. Searing Spear won me quite a few games, in fact.

    Round 1: Miracles 2-0
    Sadly, was under the weather, and also flooded out in game two. During game two I went ultimate with a boarded in Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and ended up machine-gunning him to death with Searing Spear

    Round 2: Grixis Control 0-2
    This match was against the Grixis control player mentioned above. He had a huge number of sweepers, and I just couldn't make a threat stick. Both games were very close, and in the end it was Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker ruining my day. Tongue

    Round 3: GW Midrange/Aggro 1-1-1
    I can't remember a lot about this match for some reason. I recall one of the games I was totally mana screwed and stuck at two lands for most of the game. We went to time in game three, and he was ready to swing for lethal on the final turn if I didn't top deck Supreme Verdict.

    Round 4: GB Zombies Midrange
    This deck was a bit odd, and I tempoed him out completely. He couldn't keep a creature on the board, and my Geist of Saint Traft kept swinging in.

    Top Eight Round 1: Miracles 2-0 or 3-0, can't remember
    Same opponent as the first time and same problems for him as the first time.

    Top Eight Round 2: GB Zombies Midrange 2-0
    Same opponent again, same method of winning.

    Top Eight Round 3: Grixis Control 1-2
    This was the guy who beat me earlier, and I wasn't liking my prospects going into the match since he had also defeated another person playing a deck almost identical to mine. I was able to take it to three this time, winning game two by being able to keep a couple threats on the board long enough to do some serious damage. Game three he was able to resolve a Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker followed by a Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. This was after I managed to prevent two Liliana of the Veil from taking over the game, and when he went ultimate on Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, I scooped. Game three I was also hurting pretty bad for mana.

    So far, I am loving this deck. I played Bant Control on Friday, and didn't really enjoy it all that much. This deck still needs some tweaking, but I am comfortable with its ability to win consistently in my meta.

    Cards that performed better than I expected (in no particular order):

    Geist of Saint Traft, despite how good I know him to be. I wasn't expecting to be able to swing so freely with him, and was even more impressed than when I ran him in Delver before rotation. If you aren't running four, you're doing it wrong.

    Searing Spear was miles better than I thought it would be. I ended up being very happy to have four, and I don't think that number should change any time soon. When it wasn't clearing the way for my Geist of Saint Traft to swing, it was melting my opponents face for those last few points of damage. In fact, on three separate games I finished off my opponents by top decking this or by recurring it with a top-decked Snapcaster Mage.

    Syncopate was actually a lot better than I thought it would be, and I'm fairly sure that four is the right number for now. Against a stable meta, probably not, but while things are in constant flux it seems to be the right choice. There were a few times I wasn't able to counter what I wanted, but more often than not it worked well.

    Azorius Charm was absolutely backbreaking against creatures. The tempo loss for your opponent is exactly what we need to steal the win. Against a creature light deck, I board them out.

    My main concerns going forward are the mana base, and finding some tech to fight sweepers. Many of my games my opening hand was clogged with the M13 duals, which basically put me a turn behind. I don't think a full playset of each is the way to go. On the plus side, I was never once color screwed.

    As for tech against sweeper-heavy decks, I'm considering Archwing Dragon or perhaps Rootbound Defenses. Right now I'm leaning towards Archwing Dragon, since many decks don't have good instant speed removal right now.
  • #21
    Good report.

    I survived against the UWR Control deck because I had enough counter and Rootborn Defenses games 2 and 3. I think it is really crucial because they run so many sweepers, and often 3 or even 4 Supreme Verdict. I think 2 in the side are critical for the Bant, UWR, and Grixis control matches, they may be our most difficult to face.

    I will re-iterate my conviction that Izzet Charm is good in this deck because of its flexibility. It ends up being better draw than Azorius because it goes 2 deep, it can outright destroy a creature, and it can counter non-creature spells, like Terminus.

    Thalia is also a beast because of how much she slows down control decks. That +1 mana means we get to swing at least once with GoST if they can't miracle Terminus, it means their PWs come in later, and it means we are doing damage from turn 3. Turn 2 Thalia, Turn 3 GoST swing with Thalia, Turn 4 swing with both is basically 10 damage turn 4 with 3-4 mana open, which is enough for us. If we are on the play, turn 5 is the earliest they get a hard-cast sweeper, which puts them at 2 life, well within range of Pillar of Flame and Searing Spear. None of the control decks have much of a way to deal with that short of landing big blockers, which only Bant can really drop turn 3 (Centaur Healer is a serious problem.) Bant can also generate instant speed Wrath with Alchemist's Refuge. As a Bant player, I can tell it is very effective, hence Rootborn Defenses.

    RE: Azorius Charm, I am so-so on it. It is great to put some cards back on the top and Time Walk them, but... there are so many (of my opponent's) cards I don't want to put back on top deck right now. Here is a list of things I don't want them recycling unless I am swinging for game:
    Thragtusk (Double 5 pt. heal and a token)
    Centaur Healer (double 3 pt. heal)
    Geralf's Messenger (2 damage twice)
    Huntmaster of the Fells (Double 2 pt. heal and 2 tokens!)
    Snapcaster Mage (Oh yay, another chance to have something flashback on me)
    Restoration Angel (great, it'll come back and flash one of the above again!!!)
    Armada Wurm (woo-hoo, 3 5/5 creatures I have to deal with next turn)
    Doomed Traveler (in token decks a great pain in the tuchus.)
    Angel of Serenity (Just what they want, since they probably put their own creatures in exile...)

    It is not great against cards with Haste, which are common right now, but it does beat getting hit in the face:
    Dreg Mangler
    Thundermaw Hellkite
    Ash Zealot
    Falkenrath Aristocrat
    Zealous Conscripts (OMG, please not twice...!!)

    It is also of limited value against cards that bring multiple threats to the field:
    Lingering Souls (2, with 2 next turn)
    Talrand's Invocation (2)
    Midnight Haunting (2)
    Gather the Townsfolk (2)
    Entreat the Angels (x)
    Armada Wurm (2)
    Huntmaster of the Fells (2)
    Garruk Relentless
    Garruk, Primal Hunter
    Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

    Those are key cards in Bant Control, Bant Mid-Range Control, BG and BR Zombies, the mirror, UWR Control (miracle and non-miracle variants), Esper Control, Esper Tokens.

    Unlike Azorius Charm, Izzet Charm also potentially counters 8 of them because they are non-creature spells and kills 5 of them outright.
    Last edited by redtwister: 10/29/2012 5:03:53 PM
    Current Decks:

    Esper Control
    UWR Control
    Death and Taxes

    "I'm a lead farmer... !" Quote ruined due to policy.
  • #22
    Can we get this moved to competitive? It's been consistently t8ing the open series events and doing very well on magic online dailies (9 UWR tempo decks finished 3-1 or better in the latest daily, and 6 with 3-1 or better record in the one before that).
  • #23
    In Todd Anderson's most recent playtest video he was running four Knight of Glory in his side to combat zombies, and he dropped the Dungeon Geists. Personally, I think this is a great change.
  • #24
    I think our game against zombies is already strong, so I'd rather use those slots against other decks. I haven't lost a single match against agro decks. I've only got six or seven matches against them, though.
  • #25
    In my local GPT-Charleston I made it to a 5th just out of reach of the top 4 because of play mistakes against zombies round 2, and round 3 he had to have gotten the perfect hand (cavern of souls, 3 separate gravecrawlers, duress, blood artist and rancor )

    After the game day Tournament I am finding that I side pillar of flame out way more often then I keep it, and usually put in the dissipate every game

    The searing spear proved to be amazing against everything but a loxodon smiter. So I am going to replace 1 of the pillar of flames with a searing spear and run 4/3.

    As far as Knight of Glory goes, it is a great card against zombies but I am not convinced that it is a better side board items than the dungeon giest
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